More often than not, I consider New Year’s Eve—especially on the Strip—amateur night. I’m also a firm believer that you have to do it at least once to have the authority to be cynical about it. So if you’re going to do it, do it right. Don’t be satisfied with a gold cardboard top hat and generic noisemakers. Go for the most over-the-top, ridiculous, decadent options available. And then top that with fireworks at midnight. In other words: Go big or stay home.
There’s a $125, four-course prix fixe menu for New Year’s Eve at Red Square, but if you are feeling especially opulent, there’s also a ton of caviar waiting to be pried open. You can feel good about the sturgeon roe, as it hasn’t been smuggled from an Eastern Bloc country in a baby’s diaper bag. Red Square has a trio of domestic caviar that comes from Hackleback sturgeon, American Paddlefish and Golden Whitefish, three species that at $85 won’t break the bank—or their ecosystem. But if you want to feel more Russian, ask to don one of the fur Cossack hats while sipping on some icy vodka. After you’re feeling fuzzy and full of fish eggs, saunter down the hallway to Light, which will be on Night Two of its New Year’s Eve celebration with Sebastian Ingrosso. In Mandalay Bay, 632-7407.
Ringing in the New Year at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire is like having the most 1-percent moment of your life: stark, stunning dining room; six-course meal by one of the most revered chefs in the world; a view of the proletariat swarming on the Boulevard below. And chef Pierre Gagnaire is in the house—literally. The master French chef has spent his past few New Year’s Eves in his restaurant with an unbeatable view of the ensuing midnight fireworks.
There is a four-course menu available earlier in the evening, but if you want to make this New Year’s Eve count, you’ll opt for one of the later seatings for the six-course menu. Gagnaire tops himself this year, featuring dishes such as sea urchin custard with caviar, blinis and vodka granite, duck foie gras shortbread with Chantilly and red port, and Tajima wagyu beef au poivre with black Sarawak pepper, black truffle and Paris mushroom. Please resist every urge to utter “Let them eat cake” when the Grand Dessert is served. Second seating at 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10 p.m., $525, Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, 590-8882, MandarinOriental.com.
“Party with an Olympic Gold medalist” can be checked off your bucket list. The haphazardly capitalized SHe by Morton’s landed itself a couple of Olympic swimmers: Ryan Lochte and Cullen Jones. The party kicks off upstairs in the nightclub with an open bar from 8-10 p.m., with both athletes on hand to look pretty ring in 2014.
But prior to that, you need to fuel up for the night’s festivities. The 9 p.m. seating in SHe’s downstairs dining room features four courses with choices that include the steakhouse’s greatest hits: pan-roasted foie gras, tomato onion bleu salad, coffee-brined duck breast, filet and lobster tail and grass-fed rib eye. Hey, if Michael Phelps purportedly ate 10,000 calories a day during training, there’s nothing wrong with this meal to help you through a New Year’s Eve party marathon. NYE party $100, $50 after 10 p.m.; four-course menu: $150, 353-1451, SHe-LV.com.